Show ContentsAilison History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The old Scottish-Dalriadan name Ailison is derived from the name for the son of "Ellis" or Ellis' son. Conversely, the surname could be is derived from "Alice" as in "the son of Alice." It is likely though that the name was derived from "Ellis" rather than the female personal name. [1] [2]

But Black goes on stating there is some dispute as to the origin: "On the other hand, with reference to Scottish Alison or Allison, Mr. L. A. Morrison in his The History of the Alison or Allison family in Europe and America, Boston, 1893, says that it is 'a fact beyond doubt that Alison comes from Alister or Alexander, and, further, that the Alisons are offshoots of the famous Clan of MacAlister" (p. 4), and that the origin of the name is due to two sons of Alexander MacAlister of Loupe who with some of their followers escaped to the parish of Avondale, Lanarkshire, during the War of Independence, and there later their name was changed from MacAlister to Alison (p. 18). He further states that 'the names Alison, Allison, Alinson, Allinson, and of Elison, Ellison, Elissen, Ellysen, are found thus spelled in the early history of some branches of the present Allison family. They are interchangeably mixed. The name was often spelled Ellison and Allison when referring to the same individual.' " [1]

Early Origins of the Ailison family

The surname Ailison was first found in the county of Lanarkshire (Gaelic: Siorrachd Lannraig) a former county in the central Strathclyde region of Scotland, now divided into the Council Areas of North Lanarkshire, South Lanarkshire, and the City of Glasgow, where they acquired some time before 1300 the territories of their family seat at Loupe. They were descended from Angus Mor MacDonnell, Lord of the Isles, their Gaelic name was MacAllister, and it is difficult through history to distinguish one name from the other.

One of the first clear records of the family was "Patrick Alissone del counte de Berewyk rendered homage, 1296." [1] This is an early record of Patrick's swearing allegiance to King Edward I of England, shortly after his invasion of Scotland.

Continuing, we found "Peter Alesoun was a witness in Brechin, 1490 (REB,, II, 134), Thomas Alesoun appears in Lochtoun, Scone, 1586 (Scon, p. 232), James Allasone was bailie of Ranfrew, 1688 (RPC., 3. ser. XIII, p. 243), and Gabriel Alason was bailie of the burgh of Dumfries, 1693." [1]

Early History of the Ailison family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Ailison research. Another 42 words (3 lines of text) covering the years 1296, 1314 and are included under the topic Early Ailison History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ailison Spelling Variations

Translation in medieval times was an undeveloped science and was often carried out without due care. For this reason, many early Scottish names appeared radically altered when written in English. The spelling variations of Ailison include Allison, Alison, Alinson, Allinson, McAllister, MacAllister, Ellison and many more.

Early Notables of the Ailison family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Ailison Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Ailison family to Ireland

Some of the Ailison family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 57 words (4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Ailison family

These settlers arrived in North America at a time when the east was burgeoning with prosperous colonies and the expanses of the west were just being opened up. The American War of Independence was also imminent. Some Scots stayed to fight for a new country, while others who remained loyal went north as United Empire Loyalists. The ancestors of all of them went on to rediscover their heritage in the 20th century through highland games and other patriotic Scottish events. The Ailison were among these contributors, for they have been located in early North American records: William Allison who settled in Pennsylvania in 1764.



  1. Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
  2. Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.


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